Festival connects kids with stories

Adults must be accompanied by a child to attend this show.

The 25th annual BookFest takes place Saturday (May 7) in downtown Nanaimo and features nine Canadian authors and illustrators presenting their books to children.

The goal of the festival is to inspire children to read, write, draw and develop their creativity. The event is aimed at children five to 12-years-old.

“You need to get younger kids involved and interested,” said BookFest volunteer Barb Kerfoot.

She said organizers expect upwards of 600 children and their families to participate in the festival, taking place at Diana Krall Plaza.

“The downtown’s been quite supportive of us,” Kerfoot said.

Many of the authors attending this year’s festival will be familiar to families of past years.

“It’s a celebration of 25 years, so who are the great people who have come in the past?” said Kerfoot. “We also look for a range of people.”

Participating in BookFest this year are:

Linda Bailey – author of more than 20 books, her latest title is Stanley’s Beauty Contest;

Robert Heidbreder – a primary school teacher, his titles include Lickety Split and A Sea-Wishing Day;

Marie-Louise Gay – an author and illustrator for the past 25 years, her latest books include Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth;

Eugenie Fernandes – translated her love of the outdoors into children’s books, such as Kitten’s Spring;

Robin Muller – received the Governor General’s Award for the book The Magic Paintbrush;

Andrea Spalding – originally trained as a teacher, her books include Behind the Sorcerer’s Cloak;

Arthur Slade – won the Governor General’s Award for Dust in 2001 and aims books at ages 10 and older;

John  Wilson – from his home in Lantzville, he pens fast-paced books based on history;

Sheree Fitch – writes for children of all ages and her books include Kiss the Joy as it Flies.

“Each author has an appeal to different ages,” Kerfoot said.

The cost for three author/illustrator sessions is $10 or $25 per family. Books by authors and illustrators are available for purchase, as is this year’s T-shirt with a design by Gabriola author and illustrator Diana Bonder.

An online auction of original art created by Canadian children’s illustrators is now live and will close Saturday. Money raised will go toward future festivals. To view or bid on items, please visit www.bookfestartauction.com.

Preschool events, including parent-child rhyme time and puppet show, and noon-hour entertainment by Juno Award-nominated, Gabriola-based children’s band The Kerplunks are free.

Tickets are available through the Port Theatre ticket centre at 250-754-8550 or online at www.porttheatre.com.

For more information, please visit www.bookfest.ca.



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